Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Grandy's Fall Sewing Adventure

Hi Ya'll:

Well, I've finally settled down enough to make time to write about my trip to Northwest Florida (Crestview) and the three day sewing retreat featuring Nancy Zieman.  I left home around 10:00 am and just took my time about getting there.  I stopped just outside Mobile, AL at the mall in Spanish Fort and purchased a beautiful sparkly sweater from LBs and two pair of shoes that were 65% off at Dillards.  Then I was on my way after about  90 minutes.  When I got to Pensacola, FL I stopped at the super Joanns and they were having a 40% off sale on just about everything.  I purchased a floral sweater knit for a sweater set and 3 pieces of coordinating linen.  I arrived at my friend's house in Niceville, FL (This is a really cute little town and reflects its name in every way)  around 3:30 and had a really good visit with her and her husband.  Her friend, Joan met me early Thursday morning and I followed her  to the Crestview, FL community center.

The first day's schedule started at 8:00 a.m. and ended at 8:30 p.m.  The second day started at 9:00 and ended at 5:30 and the third day from 9:00 to 3:30 that ended with a drawing of the winner of the Ellisamo Gold Babylock.  Of course you had to attend all three of the days and be present for the drawing.  I didn't win but I had a wonderful time.  I got some one-on-one time with the Evolution trainer and got some critical questions answered like how to end a cover stitch sewn in the "round".

Nancy Zieman was very interesting as well as entertaining.  She autographed her books and graciously took pictures with all who wanted them.  She did an evening presentation the first day and a morning presentation the second day.  I was most interested in her landscape quilting demo and lecture.  The samples were stunning and made me want to learn more about "fussy and messy" cutting, so I purchased the video and booklet.  I also watched many demos on Babylock's top of the line  Elissamo embroidery sewing machine.  Each demo made my mouth water for this machine.  Everything that it does is absolutely fabulous from the self threading to finding the correct spot to restart a design even if it has been un-hooped as well as the camera that insures a straight edge and topstitch.  I'm not into a lot of embroidery but this thing makes you really want to.  So I spent most of my time talking myself out of buying it after all I do have the Viking Designer I.  Of course the Elissamo is still in the back of my mind.  I did, however, purchase  a set of of 16 serger feet with case at a discounted price for my Evolution Serger.

My only complaint is that Ruthie has a  pressure sales technique, which for me was a real turn off.   She also infuses Christian songs and prayer into her programs for opening and lunch.  No complaints from me...the songstress was very very good and the prayers sincere.  I can see how she became the number 1 Babylock dealer in the USA for four or five consecutive years.

In order to get to Florida, the only way I know is to go through the Bankhead tunnel in Mobile, AL and this always causes me a lot of angst.  I always get so stressed but I made it safely through each
time.  I'm going to look at a map and see if there is another way that is not too far out of the way.

My daughter and her family kept the boys and complained about their spoiled attitudes.  I threatened to take them to a boarding kennel on my next out of town venture and their response was ......"OK".  They really get on my nerves talking about my sweet boys.  They just don't understand.

Sunday, September 25, 2011


OK, I've spent the past week getting to know my new Babylock Evolution serger.  I am comfortable with the 4 thread overlock stitch and the cover stitch.  The workbook is fabulous in that it has real pictures and not just drawings as with the owners manual.

I must admit that I was surprised that my old 13yr old Elna was very advanced in that it is digital with a computer screen and auto everything. . The Evolution as great as it is; is to me rather basic in that you must set everything i.e., stitch width, length and tension.  The threading guide is a separate trifold heavily laminated document that can be kept in a handy place and tolerate a lot of use.  That being said, I just love not having to fool with the loopers.  The jet air threader is almost unbelievable which makes threading the needles a snap.  I think after a few classes and more experimenting I'll be up to snuff with everything.  I think I'm a little intimated by that large box of feet that was an add-on.  After all, I never ever used any additional feet with the Elna; of course I just did basic stuff.

So far I've made four tops for my daughter, three for me and a skirt for granddaughter, Trinity Grace.  They scooped their things up so fast that I didn't get a chance to photograph them.

My good friend who lives in North West Florida (about 3 hours from me) called with news that Nancy
Zieman will be at a three day workshop (Oct. 6-8) at Ruthie's Notions in Baker, Florida which is only a few minutes from her.  I went to the website and found that the cost is only $98. for three days.  I registered online immediately.  This is the least expensive sewing event I been to in many many years.  My friend invited me to stay with her so my only additional expenses will be gas and food.  YEA!  I'm so looking forward to doing this.

Saturday, September 17, 2011


Hi fellow sewers, readers of this blog and friends:  It really has been a while since I took the time to sit and write on my blog.  I won't spend a lot of time with all my dramas, i.e., sergers, sewing machine and the boys (my little dogs - pictures posted).

I haven't made many things since I posted last,however I was extremely inspired after an Eileen Fisher attack brought on by a stroll through Dillards out of sheer boredom.  I must admit the prices were fabulous 65% off and additional 40% off at the register.  I really love her stuff; it never wears out, extraordinarily fine fabrics and they look good on my mature (lol) figure.  They had my size in everything as it was the first day of the sale.  I guess so because the question in my mind is "Who pays $158 for a summer tank top"?  However, I am happy to report that I grabbed up over $900 worth of Eileen Fisher for a little over $300.  Although this was and end of summer sale, I will be able to wear these things until late November due to our semitropical weather and will be set for spring.  No guilt as my Dillards card has had a tiny balance of under $100 for months since I stopped retired.

I am not the most creative sewer, but I have promised myself for years that I would try to copy some of the ready to ware things that fit well.  So after wondering some more, I cleared my cutting table and traced the pattern onto pattern tracing paper.  Success!  It fit and looked just like the the $158. tank top.  So I got out my prized linen jersey (I have become obsessed with this stuff) and made several more.  AND THEN...........................................................serger trouble once again reared it's ugly head!

If you've been a reader of this blog then you know I have just about driven myself crazy with my Elna 925 server.  Well, Thursday night as I was serging  the e-shrug from Sewing Workshop (cute and very easy and takes less than 30 minutes) the upper looper broke.  That did it!  I finished the e-shrug by machine and went to bed.  Yesterday, I drove to Mobile, AL (45 minutes away) and calmly, without any guilt purchased (are you ready for this) an Evolution by Babylock.  Now you and I both know that I probably will never make anything that requires 8 spools of thread, but I purchased it because I wanted the same features as my 5 thread Elna 925.  However, my main reason was because of the Extraordinair Threading system.  With this kind of investment you can best believe that I'll be attending as many classes as the price of gasoline will allow since the shop is about 65 miles from where I live

Tried it out in the store and seems there will be a slight learning curve for me, but I'm up to the challenge.  I must say, however, that had I not done my research due diligence, I probably would have not made the purchase because the sales staff and manager were like something out of a combination Three Stooges - Keystone Cops movie.  I had to take several deep breaths and refocus, especially when the owner arrived after picking up the three kids (ages about 2-7) from school and daycare.  Call me crazy, but I just expect the sales staff to be 100% knowledgeable of the products they sell.  I was pleased to know that they were not the instructors for the classes.

So now I'll start the challenge!

Friday, June 3, 2011


I promise I'll not go into great detail regarding what has happened since the last time I posted.......more trouble with the serger and much more drama with local repair shop.  Just as I had made the decision to purchase the Babylock Evolution, my serger was returned in pretty good shape.  Not perfect as the auto tension adjustment seems to be a little off.  So I weighed the expensive cost of $2000.  - $3,000 depending on where you purchase against knowing I'll probably NEVER use 8 threads and decided to wait a while or just see how my Elna was going to work out.  However, I still deep down want it and I promise you that if this sucker acts up one more time I'm going to just go get one!!!  Well, we'll see.

 I've focused on making vacation clothes for youngest Grandaugher, Trinity Grace. Additionaly, I decided to make Burda 8368 View C for myself.  I knew that with this many buttonholes, my Designer 1 which is buttonhole challenged; would mess up at least one and I would have to pick it out so I decided to add a placket and hide the buttonholes and buttons.
I knew that sometime in my long sewing history I had done this but wanted to be sure of how to do it correctly.  So I  
 pulled out my copy of "High-Fashion Sewing Secrets from the World's Best Designers" and on pages 101-104 were instructions for making a fly or concealed front placket

.......and after hours of one mishhap after the other I completed the blouse.
Here is my version:

Thought I would give you a view of it on Gloria.  She's not quite ready for prime time but will do just fine for now:

I'm still working on making a wardrobe of perfectly fitting muslins.  The most helpful tool I've found has been the Lutterloh System.  I was surprised that it works quite well.  I still had to make adjustments but not too bad.  The next step in mastering fitting myself perfetly is working on how to transfer the techniques to commercial patterns.  I'm really enjoying using the curved rulers.....Very nice.  So far I've made four pair of pants (crop with cuff)...Very nice for summer, and several tops.  I'll try to get pictures online soon.

Now for the thing I'm most excited about now:  I think I have finally come up with a system that organizes my patterns in a manner that I can quickly see what I've got and the ability to retrieve them quickly without looking through my many, many boxes and files.  It stems from my absolute love for my iphone's camera.  The photos are a matter of fact every picture I've posted on this entire blog was taken with my iphone.  I'm taking a photo of every pattern and using the iphoto application that came with my Macbook computer.  Iphoto allows me to organize my photos by keywords...(tops, pants, dresses etc.) and I can view them in albums on my computer.  The next step is to keep the actual patterns in boxes organized just as the albums are (pants, tops etc.)  I started tonight and plan to enlist the grands in getting the patterrns into the boxes.  I can do this when I'm not sewing.  The next thing will be reorganizing the tons of fabrics.  Yeah right!  I'm sure there's an app for that.  LOL

Saturday, April 16, 2011


I have been the worst kind of procrastinator there is.  I have all these plans for sewing going on in my mind and I'll put off one for another, then there's some crisis and I can't do it; I find something more interesting, I find a new piece of fabric or notion..........

Remember my goal to fit myself properly and develop a set of standard patterns just for me?  Wellllllll, I got a little side tracked after getting Gloria (the dress form)  I even took that pattern design and fitting class offered at Hancock Fabrics......purchased everything.  But, I had to finish the fabric luggage set.  So, I finally got back to sewing something that fit rather that something flowy draping around my body; and after several tries I got a blouse done from Burda 7518.  Cute but the instructions were a bit different as this was my first try with Burda.  I finished it with several tweaks.  Still not happy with it.  Cut out another and what happens?  While doing a quick alteration for my daughter my Elna serger,  that I ranted about a couple of months ago, went out again.  I spent over an hour threading, re-threading and threading again.  Finally gave up and took it to a local shop to see if they could repair it,.  In great despair I went to Wall Mart and purchased the little $180. Singer as a backup, with the understanding that if I hate it, I have 90 days to return it for a refund.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention the latest old lady thing I've done,  While trying to figure out what happened to the serger, in a panic I reached for the canned air in a light blue can sitting between the quilt stick-um spray and the spray starch all in light blue spray cans.  I actually sprayed the inside of the door and  mechanical parts of the serger with the quilting spray.  I almost lost my rabid mind.  I looked for the brush couldn't find it...jumped in the car and drove like a maniac to Hancock to get a brush.  With some effort I got a lot of the stuff out and then I decided to put some fingernail polish remover on a q-tip to remove what ever sticky stuff was left.  This seemed to have worked.......However, the clacking sound coming from the serger indicated that something more serious was wrong with the thing!

So I'm doing all the housework tonight so that I can have Sat and Sunday to come up with a few things to take to New Orleans with my friends on Monday and returning Wednesday.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Completing The Set

I liked the duffel bag so well I decided to make a matching dress bag and tote.  I don't know if I'll get around to the tote as I get bored rather quickly past two items in the same fabric,  I should have remembered this when I was sewing bridesmaid's dresses and cotillion dresses.  I completed the dress bag using an old probably discontinued pattern.  My one regret in this project is that I should have made the suit bag instead of the dress bag as I am only 5'1".

This is the pattern; the envelope had 1992 on the back.

As you can see there are a lot of items in this pattern.  Don't think we get this many now.  The pattern was very easy to put together.  It called for a 53" zipper which I couldn't find so I used the 45" upholstery one from Hancock.  I used my statch fabric for the contrasting piping.

Additionally, the pattern uses ribbons to hold the folded bag.

Pictured are front and rear folded views.  And now the Ta Daaaaah! photo for the set:

With two new travel bags I now have a reason to plan a trip so that I can use my new stuff.   Now, on to the next project which is going to be a Spring Piano recital/Easter dress for granddaughter, Trinity Grace.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Elegant Travel Duffle

Don't you just love the internet!  You can just brouse and browse until you happen upon something you've just got to have; and the internet is so accommodating that you can order in real time......and if its a PDF pattern or other data, you can have it in minutes or just a few days for regular stuff.

Browsing last week I found this cute duffle bag pattern.  Not that I travel a lot; I'm just bored with the same pieces of luggage I've had since 2000.  Thought I would try my hand at this one:

A Travel Duffle

Travel Duffle PDF Sewing Pattern
Travel Duffle PDF Sewing PatternTravel Duffle PDF Sewing PatternTravel Duffle PDF Sewing PatternTravel Duffle PDF Sewing PatternTravel Duffle PDF Sewing Pattern

This pattern from an independent pattern maker was purchased on the Etsy site and is "A Travel Duffle By Studio Cherie'

My version is as follows:

The instructions were very easy to follow especially since, with the exception of one beginner quilting class, I only sew with paper patterns.  I took my time and made sure I understood the instructions and it worked out well; don't you think?  The instructions call for quilting the body of the bag.  I chose not to because of the weight of this wonderful piece of upholstery fabric.  I used 60" felt and quilter's spray to add body.  The instructions do not recommend lining the bag, but my OCD (lol) insisted that I line it.  I also added pockets to the lining as well.

My plan was to use it as a really upscale health club bag, but upon completion it may be a bit too large (20" x 12"), however it is perfect for a weekend trip.

I almost omitted the pull rings (shown in middle picture) and I'm glad I didn't.  They help in zipping up the bag (I used double slider zippers) and the puills would be perfect if you wanted to add a shoulder strap.  I was really annoyed because I could not find dark brown double slider zippers anywhere not even online.  Consequently, I used black.  The side pockets have pleats and a zipper and should prove to be very useful.  See picture below:

And finally the straps.  The Jute Webbing adds strength as well as a great design detail to the straps.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Yet Another BAG

I really enjoyed making this one.  This is the first pattern I've tried by this designer.

This is the Scottsdale Satchel from Purse Strings.  I've had it quiet  while.  I probably ordered it from Henrietta Bags.  All of the instructions were very clear.  Yet, I struggled mightily with the grommets simply because in my infinite wisdom gained by sewing for many, many years I decided to do something different.  I just didn't want to get my fat self down on the floor of the garage to hammer grommets as instructed by the designer who clearly stated that through trial and error she found that doing it on a cement floor was the best way to attach grommets.  I tried and tried and just couldn't figure out why I couldn't attach the grommets on my butcher block island in the kitchen.   So just as I was about to cry and curse, I decided to just go into the garage and get down on the floor and hammer the things in place.  It worked right away and I could have just kicked myself.  Oh well we live and learn; don't we.

I picked up this fabric Friday when I went on a Senior Citizen's day trip to the Fairhope Arts and Crafts Festival in Fairhope, AL. (2.5 hrs away).  I'm a new senior and really felt that I was just too young for this crowd. (lol)  We traveled on a nice chartered bus and I didn't have to stress myself with driving.  Although I did get a little anxious when I noticed the driver was turning his head away from the road when talking to the lady in the seat across from him.  So I just turned it over to the Lord and put on my headphones and closed my eyes.  And besides I was tired of listining to the conversations around me about who died, what kind of meds they're taking and what's hurting.  I guess I talk about the same things; just not on a trip.  

So here it is.  I'm very pleased with this project,

I purchased the fabric from a cute little Interior Decorator's shop,  It is some sort of blend and the design is woven to make the frogs look wrinkled.  Yes, those are frogs with orange spots.  When I first looked at the fabric I saw stars or trees.  Oh well, I'm old whats your excuse?  I made the grave mistake of telling my daughter and grandaughters and they just went on and on about how on earth could I see stars in this design.  The can really get on my last nerve sometimes.  LOL

PR Weekend?

Have you been before?  Are you planning to go this year?  I'm considering attending....would like to know other's experiences.


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Road Trip - Original Sewing and Quilt Expo-Atlanta

When the flyer and email reached me a couple of months ago, I knew this would be the year that I would indulge myself in the best time ever for a sewing fanatic and a fabricaholic once again.  I figured I would brave the six hour drive and avoid at all cost Atlanta's rush hour.  However the more I thought about the trip, the more I could feel driving panic raise its ugly head.  As I grow older I don't have the same confidence in my ability to drive in large Metropolitian areas, rain, night driving on unfamiliar roads and about a million other things.  I guess this is what happens as we age.  I investigated flying and it seemed rediculous to pay over $400 for a round trip flight to Atlanta from Biloxi/Gulfport.

I mentioned the trip to a couple of my water aerobics buddies and they were excited to go with me.  So for the third time I went to the Original Sewing and Quilt Expo in Atlanta, GA.  It was quite the road trip.  The weather was awful thunderstorms and tornadoes.  The weather channel broke in to the program and advised everyone on I-65 between Mobile and Montgomery, Alabama to take cover immediately.  We  exited the interstate and to our surprise the exit was just outside the Wind Creek Casino.  Heh, heh, heh.  We ate lunch and played the slots (lost of course).  The weather advisories indicated that the weather would remain stormy all day.  When the tornado warnings lifted we drove on to Atlanta.  Luckily, my friend from Los Angeles had no fear of driving and pushed ahead all the way to Atlanta.  We shared expenses (3 tanks of gas @ 65.00 each and a nice hotel suite).  We arrived the day before, shopped, ate, drank and were quite merry yet refreshed for the beginning of the Expo on Thursday.

It was fabulous as usual.  Hundreds of classes, exhibits, fashion shows, demonstrations and yes FABRIC, FABRIC, FABRIC.  Vogue Fabrics had the largest selection of fabrics and patterns.  I didn't linger too long viewing all of the fabulous machines that seem to do everything except clean and cook to free up more time to sew.  I must say that I restrained myself and didn't overdo the fabric and pattern purchases.  Here's what I bought even thought I needed nothing:

Three sheer coordinating pieces from Vogue Fabrics.......Maybe Linda Lee's shapes and flowey pants.....Hmmmmmm

Beautiful but pricey linen from the Wool House, exhibitor from Canada.  They remebered me from the last trip and gave a nice discount.  Jacket and striped pants planned.

Pattern and the excact linen from the Wool House.  

This is the sample.  Counterpoints Jacket by Gail Patrice Design.  This is absolutely georgeous.  The trim is varigated silk ribbon with beads woven through the linen and lined with contrasting print fabric and bound with yet another fabric.  Beautiful not quilt-tee.

I loved the fabric on top, a sheer floaty chiffon-like (Vogue Fabrics)  for a top that coordinates with the three knits shown belowfrom my stash.  

A nice krinkle poly knit from Vogue Fabrics that will join my fall stash.

Now, if I can just get myself in gear and get to sewing all of this wonderful stuff.  I'll keep you posted on  my progress.


Sunday, March 6, 2011


I haven't mentioned my boys in a while basically because I've been in this sewing and reading frenzy.  I was watching the boob tube and got up to get a bottle of water and as I walked into the dinning room this is what I saw on the floor.

OK so maybe I accidently knocked this off my sewing table.  But, someone picked it up and had a lot of fun with it.  I just don't think it was PJ because he was sitting on the couch with ne when I got up.  The other two were not where I could see where I could see them immediately.  When I pointed to it and asked "Who did this", every one slunk away and looked guilty.  So like any good parent I gave everyone a time out without a snack.  The good had to suffer with the bad.  (I give them snacks to go into the kennel without any trouble)......Think the punishment fits the crime?

Thursday, March 3, 2011


I'm soooooooooooooo excited about my next project.  (Sing this like the Pointer Sister's song, "I'm so excited" and you'll feel how really excited I am about this.  But (furst!)....The back story.  This is where my daughter and grand daughters start to roll their eyes and say under their breaths'....."Not another story".  I just ignore them and continue....most of the time they end up enjoying the story.......Hope you will too.

I was thinking I wanted to make a dress since all I wear are tops and bottoms since I've become a full figured woman as opposed to being a little plump in my younger years.  Well, I decided that I would make a simple dress with princess seaming in front and back.  I chose Vogue 8665 as I thought should ok on my full figured body.  (I'm laughing here!)

And here's what it looks like in real time!

It fits nicely at the neckline and sleeves but the rest looks like it was made at home with loving hands by Omar, the tent maker.

I decided that what I really needed now in order to fit my new body (this new one that I didn't realize had changed so drastically) was a dress form.  I had contemplated this over the years  but just didn't purchase one as the things I made looked ok on me.  So I was off and running with a new project.  I had looked at the ones at Hancock fabrics and always thought they looked cumbersome and didn't really look like my body.

So off to the internet to google dress-forms.  Ta-Dah!  Pages and pages of dress-form stuff.  After several look sees with prices ranging .from $86 to over $800 I was totally confused and I knew I didn't want to invest what seemed like a ridiculous amount of money into a dressform.  A few hours later I tried again and went to this site: and called for more information.  Much to my absolute amazement I found myself speaking with a woman who identified herself as Jill.   Jill was a jewel of a person.  She told me about her dressforms and quoted prices.  I told her honestly that I was a hobbyist sewer and didn't want to invest so much money.  Based on so many conversations I've had with people on the phone, I expected her to just say ok and hang up.  Jill went on to advise me that I could get a very good dressform from Amazon under $100 and told me that they also sold the pads that could build out the form in the shape of my body.  She told me to purchase a smaller size and go from there using the pads.  She still wasn't finished with me, she also suggested a book about fitting with dressforms, Fit Made Easy...Catch 22" Dress Forms & Fitting Secrets Revealed, which she thought would serve me well through this process.  I can't begin to tell you how warm, generous and forthcoming with information, and just plain old nice she was.  I thanked her and and followed up with an email and referenced my blog.

I quickly pulled up Amazon and ordered the $86 dress form, the $69 pads and the book $14.  I received the book yesterday and read it today.  This book is so descriptive with text, pictures, instructions for what ifs and just about anything else you could want from this type of book.  She was right, its just what I needed having no experience with dressforms.  I finished it in less than an hour and highlighted pertinate paragraphs so I can easily find what I need when I get started.  And to top it all off I find that Jill Ralston is one of two authors of this book and PRESIDENT of Fabulous Fit.  Hot d_______!  I opened the computer and to my amazement she actually read and commented on this blog.  You don't find 'em like this everyday.

The doorbell just rang and it was Fed Ex with the pads.  Can't write any longer to go play with  the pads and read the instructions.

I'm soooooooooooooo excited.

Blessings and Light

Monday, February 21, 2011


Got a little side tracked the past week or so but I'm ready to go again.  One of the things I failed to mention in my introduction is I adore speciality, self-help and sewing books.  I subscribe to Threads and Vogue Patterns magazines and I enjoy just leafing through them after reading.  I never discard the magazines and I refer back to them often.

Last week I ordered "The Dressmaker's Handbook of COUTURE Sewing Techniques

 and "Carry Me"  Both books are extraordinary and I am sure I'll use them often.  The Dressmaker's Handbook is very visually appealing with exquisite current (2010) designs.  The instructions are clear and this is a purchase  that I know I will not experience buyer's remorse as I have with so many other things.

The "Carry Me" book is a book of really nice bags to create.

 I was struck by the attractive cover and right away I knew I wanted to make the bag shown on the cover.  I searched my stash and found two pre-quilted pieces and headed out to Hancock Fabrics to find a suitable lining.  I decided to look in the home dec section and out jumps a black and white piece that was almost identical to the photo.  Luckily, there was a 50% off President's Day sale because this stuff was a pricey $24.99 per yard.  I needed 5/8 of a yard so I got away with the perfect fabric at a reasonable price.

And here's my rendition:

My fabric is a jacquard woven diagionaly, so this makes it slightly different.

The lining is a medium weight twill.  The ziipper insert was a new experience, however it worked out well.  I had to re-read the instructions a few times.

Monday, February 7, 2011


This is really a continuation of A RED DRESS FOR HER AND A RED SHIRT FOR ME.  With some sweet words I got Ms Thing, Brianna, to try on the completed ensemble and take a picture.

Friday, February 4, 2011


Well here we are already in a new month.   February is short and spring will be here before we know it. However, with all the cold weather spring seems a long way off. I'm enjoying winter this year. This has been a really cold one for us. I've worn a coat more this year that I have in many, many years.

I managed to complete the red dress for Bree to wear with the black and white houndstooth jacket. I used Vogue V1218.

Although this pattern is classified as easy I found the directions slightly confusing.  I followed the directions as written but did not like the unfinished edges at the top.  I surged over the raw edge and liked it much better.  I cut the dress on a size 8 based on the finished garment as indicated on the pattern tissue.  Bree is very thin and relatively slight in stature and actually wears a size 0 and sometimes a 3.  The top of the bodice was too long and had to be shortened.  I had to add two additional pleats, one on each side to make it fit.  So here is my version in red:

And this is what the finished outfit looks like.

When she can fit me in between high school classes and homework projects, etc., high school dance team practice and basketball games, and regular dance school recital and competition practice;  I'll get her to try it on and take photos for this blog.  This may actually take a while.

Since the machines were already threaded with red I decided to make a top for myself.  I've had this heavyweight cotton knit fabric in my stash for at least five years.  I found it on the value table at Hancock fabrics and purchased it all.  So I have about 4 yards of it.  I made the dogs sweaters for the holidays.  I guess I was waiting for the perfect pattern for it and Marcy Tilton came up with the perfect design.
Just perfect for my red and gray knit.
The sleeves were long on me.  I'm 5'2".  Instead of making an additional adjustment to the sleeve length I rolled them up and liked it even better.  This was a very well thought out design.  If you're tall you might want to lengthen it because it hit just right on me.  I love the flair and curve at the hem.

I haven't thought about what my next project will be, but I'm sure there will be something completed by the end of next week.  Additionally I want to show you the coat and dress I made for Trinity for Christmas.  I haven't taken a photo of it yet so as soon as I can get her mom to bring it over I'll get it done.

Until next time.. Thanks for reading and I would love to hear from you.

Monday, January 31, 2011


My top of the line (when I bought it about 10 years ago)Elna 925 surger started acting up in early 2010. Of course the dealer has gone out of business and there is not another Elna dealer in South Mississippi. So I took it in to a generic shop in Mobile, Al. The repairman got it running, however within a day or two the pedal stopped working. I assumed (I know what you're thinking about assuming) that I needed to replace the foot pedal since the machine was working otherwise. My research and just let me say, I don't remember who I called but I was told that that pedal was on longer available and I would need to buy a Phaff pedal to use on the machine. So I go on line and purchase one (new). It worked for several months then the problem started all over again. Finally, I decided to drive 65 miles to Mobile, AL to have the thing checked out by the authorized Elna dealer. Just like going to the Doctor it worked and worked and worked while I was in the shop. The shop owner was anything but pleasant so I just took the thing back home. Naturally when I tried to use it the problem was still there. The next closest dealer was in New Orleans and I just didn't want to drive 95 miles for a repair. I called Elna who advised that customers could not send their machines directly to them and I would need to get a dealer to send it. As much as I hated to go back to the little shop in Mobile, AL, I wanted to get my machine repaired so I went back and the owner agreed to send it to Elna and would call me to let me know what the cost to repair it would be. A month passed and I called her and was told that Elna closed for two weeks for Christmas and it should just be a matter of days. I Called again two weeks later and was told she expected to hear from Elna soon. By this time I was doing hong kong seam bindings and whatever else to get by. Lots of extra work. After 7-1/2 weeks I got a call around noon today and was informed that my surger had been repaired and I could pick it up. I asked the price and almost fainted when she said $303 plus tax (10% in Mobile). $100 for service, 63 for shipping and $140. for a new pedal. It took everything I had not to loose my mind but I held on and made the decision to go pick it up because if I did not I'm sure they would have sold it as I paid over $1,000 when I purchased it 10 years ago.

During the hour and twenty minute drive I decided that I would not purchase the pedal and would just get the machine. Arrived at the shop and asked to speak with the owner. She came from the back room and went on to tell me that it was the pedal that was causing my problem. So I said just let me try it before I take it home. Well as fate would have it the door to the front of the machine would not close enough for the surger to engage. She took it to the back room and I followed. She tried it again and it did not work so she opened the bottom and a 10 years of lent literally fell from the machine. She was livid. She said this is an indication that this machine had not been properly serviced. She went to the phone and called Elna's customer service department to complain. After being placed on hold and transferred three or four times someone said they would call her back. I told her that I could not wait. She took the front door off and readjusted it and oiled the machine and tried it again. It worked this time. She wanted me to leave it and send it back and make them perform a proper service on the machine. I declined and told her that I would pay the shipping charge and pay for the new pedal. She agreed and I paid @217.00. I could have purchased a new basic surger for a few dollars more.

Needless to say my frustration level was extremely high, but I pat myself on the back for not acting out or being rude. After a few deep breaths I got into my car and drove back to Biloxi. I will not attempt to sew tonight because I just cannot take another crises. As Scarlet O'Hara said in "Gone With The Wind"....I'll think about it tomorrow".

I'm positive I'll be in a better mood tomorrow and I'll start on that red dress to go with the black and white houndstooth jacket.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Houndstooth for Bree

Since I am now retired, I no longer feel the need to speed sew, look for shortcuts or make do. I read an article about "slow sewing" and it really made the lights come on in my head. You see, I was one of those sewers who sewed all night and wore the garment the next day, and sometimes it looked like I did. Now I'm savoring every detail. I didn't like to use pins when I sewed but this summer I took a beginning quilting class and the instructor said at least ten times during each class "Remember you can't use too many pins". I took this with a grain of salt and figured I could just use one or two pins. After ripping out many many times I now understand that it is better to use the pins and have seams end together. Yea! So after all these years (40+) I am pinning all the way down to the end of the seam.

As promised I have the "Black and White Coat" completed. It went together beautifully with no problems. even at the lapels. I fused the entire jacket and fused a lighter weight to the upper collar and front facings and added more for the hem and sleeves. The lining has been in my stash for I don't know how many years and seemed perfect for this project.

I have never been satisfied with the buttonholes on my Designer 1 or the Bernina 1600. My Bernina 930 (I think that was the number) was a little workhorse and made perfect buttonholes. So since I really didn't want to make a mistake with a buttonhole that was not up to par; I sewed all the buttons on and did not use buttonholes. Instead I places large black snaps under the overlapping buttons and and very pleased with the look. Cutting the back flap on the diagonal is the last change I made to this pattern, McCalls 6264. I didn't cut the front flap on the diagonal because I thought it would be too busy.

I told Bree that I would make her a red sheath dress to go under it. This one can be dressed up or can be worn with jeans. I'm sure she'll enjoy it. I post a picture of her modeling later. But for now here is the completed jacket.


Saturday, January 22, 2011

A Busy Saturday

Ever had one of those days where you are busy, busy and at the end of that day you feel that you really have not accomplished anything.  That was my Saturday.  After my appointment this morning, I called the granddaughters to see if they wanted to go to lunch with their Grandy.  Oh yes.  We went to a restaurant in the "hood" because I wanted catfish.  Well low and behold the establishment was now under Asian management.  The food was ok but I was just a little annoyed that the ownership didn't reflect the residents of the area.  Also, they had an up-charge because I used my debit card.  More annoyance!  The girls were annoyed because I was annoyed.  Hard to explain why.  Bree went on to tell me that the hair salon and the nail shop did the same thing.  Didn't realize this was a new trend.  I guess I knew the customer ended up paying but it was included in the price.  I think I would feel better if it were included in the price.  What do ya'll think?

One of Bree's friends, after discovering that I sewed asked me to make her one of those "black and white" coats.  So I said I didn't understand what a black and white coat was other than maybe a color blocked, plaid or zebra print.  "No" she replied but it makes your eyes feel funny if you look at it too long and the print runs diagonal.  So I googled it and found that it was a large "houndstooth" check.  I told her that I would make it for her at no charge but she would need to purchase the fabric.   Good, another excuse to go to the only fabric shop in town, Hancock Fabrics.  Upon entering the store I spotted a very tall woman with the jacket made out of the very same black and white houndstooth print.  As I got closer, I noticed that it was a short hair faux fur and was beautifully made.  Let me just say that sewing people can ask each other anything about whether they made what they have on or not and no one is ever offended.  Soooooo... I walked right up to her and asked and she pointed to the area where she got it.  As we talked I discovered that she had a really deep voice and big hands and the biggest high heeled shoes that I had ever seen.  Upon a closer look I determined that she was or had been a man.  Oh well she was quite attractive.  Said she was a designer from New Orleans and gave me her card.  I looked around and didn't see any black and white hounds tooth of any kind.  I asked my favorite sales lady and she said that there had been some but apparently it was all gone.  Of course I couldn't leave the store empty handed so I discovered on the value plus table (special purchase bargain fabrics) several pieces of knit fabric that would be ideal for tops etc. and because of the MLK 5 day holiday sale it was 50% off the already cheap (I mean bargain) price. At the cutting table I spied a bolt of giant black and white houndstooth outerwear fabric. Bingo! The sales lady at the cutting table explained that it was on hold for one of the employees. The assistant manager overheard the conversation and said it had been on hold far too long and to sell it if I wanted it. It was just enough to make a jacket. So I purchased it knowing that it probably would not be there the next day, and I used my 40% off coupon to boot! So I left feeling perfectly justified in my obsessive fabric purchasing behavior once again because I got everything (8 pieces 3 yds each) for $62; never mind that I have enough fabric in my stash to make everyone in Biloxi at least one garment. This was just enough to fill in the extra spaces in my newly reorganized (because its the 1st of the year) sewing room. I'll post a pic of the room later.

Later the same day Bree's friend called and said that her stepmother said she didn't need it, so forget about it. Bree agreed to let me make if for her. She's so *#!@ picky about what she wears I was very surprised but excited about making it.

So far I've cut out everything; houndstooth, lining and interfacing. Tonight I start the process of putting it all together.

Show and tell next time!